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Relatives of Joe Jones and Eddie Burns to break their silence five years after brutal murders

CIRA Murder Victims’ families to speak out on brutal killings

By Gemma Burns

The families of two men brutally murdered in Belfast five years ago are to finally break their silence at a press conference next week. The press conference is being organised by the families of Joe Jones and Eddie Burns on the fifth anniversary of their murders, at 10am next Monday 12 March at Conway Mill.

The two men, who were previously members of the CIRA, had split from the group and set up their own grouping named the Irish Peoples Liberation Army (IPLA). They were thought to have been killed in a dispute over money and weapons.

Ardoyne man Eddie Burns was lured from his home by a CIRA gang, who had been drinking heavily and taking drugs in the hours before the murder. The gang kidnapped Mr Burns and shot him dead in the Bog Meadows, also wounding another man, Damien O’Neill at the scene.

The gang then went to Ardoyne where they murdered west Belfast man Joe Jones. The killers beat Mr Jones repeatedly with a spade in an entry in Elmfield Street in Ardoyne almost decapitating him.

A west Belfast man Gerard Mackin was initially found guilty of the murder in a Dublin court but was released following an appeal and a retrial.

The press conference is being organised by the families in conjunction with Relatives for Justice and Community Restorative Justice Ireland.

Joe Jones’ brother Peter said the families had maintained a dignified silence during the investigation but felt the time is now right to speak out.

“Five years into the investigation into the brutal murders of Eddie and Joe we feel that we have been let down by the justice system, North and South,” he said.

“It is now time for our concerns about the case to be heard and it’s for this reason that we are organising this press conference five years to the day our loved ones were murdered.”

Harry Maguire of CRJI said they have been working along with RFJ to support the families.

“We have been working with the families offering them community support during what has been a very traumatic period in their lives,” he said.

“They have a number of concerns about the sheer brutality of the murders, those involved in covering up and aiding the killers, and about failures into the investigation into the murders.”

The press conference will start at 10am sharp on Monday at the Conway Mill.

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